Chad: Caught Between China And Starvation

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November 11,2008: The violence in the east continues. Especially hard hit are the Western aid groups that provide food and medical aid to nearly half a million refugees. Bandit and rebel groups have made over 120 attacks on aid organization personnel this year, so far. In some areas along the Sudan border, aid groups have withdrawn their personnel, because of the intense bandit activity, and inability of Chad or peacekeepers to provide any kind of security. Some five percent of the refugees live in those areas, and that is where the starvation and disease is most rampant. The government denies that banditry is that bad, and implies that the foreign aid workers from the West are a bunch of wusses.

The UN will take over control of the peacekeeper force next March. As part of that, the force will be increased from 3,300 to 6,000 troops. But unless the force gets several dozen helicopters, more troops in trucks will not be able to cover the entire border area with any kind of security.

November 10, 2008: Sudan have exchanged ambassadors, ending a six month diplomatic split. Both sides appear to have stopped supporting rebels in each other's territory. Sudan appears to have ordered its pro-government Arab militias to stop raiding into Chad. But that still leaves thousands of bandits and rebel gunmen on the Chad side of the border, with insufficient peacekeepers or Chad security forces to keep the peace.

October 27, 2008: China has begun building an oil refinery outside the capital. When completed in three years, it will process a million tons of oil a year, producing 700,000 tons of gasoline and 20,000 tons of kerosene. This will be the first refinery built in Chad, which currently exports eight million tons of oil a year, but has to import all refined products.

 

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